Open letter to working moms >>

You Are Their Safety Net - Mom of a College Kid (Part 3)

Yes, it is hard. But you know by now, the importance of Loving Them Enough to Let Them Go and why you need to start early to be the Voice In Their Head. Even as you let them fly, remind yourself that YOU ARE THEIR SAFETY NET.

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In this concluding part of my 3 part mini-series on being mom of a college kid, I want to leave you with some very important takeaways. Just because your kid is out of the house, it does not mean that you stop being a mom or stop worrying about them. In fact, we worry about them more because now we do not have them in front of our eyes to know for sure that they are well. 

We cannot see them to satisfy ourselves that they are happy, or at least, not unhappy. We cannot grill them on how their day was or be there to soothe them. They are learning to fend for themselves. They are learning to take care of themselves when they are sick or super tired or need a perk-me-up.


Does that make us redundant? Do they no longer need us? We go from being the center of their world (as toddlers) to watching from the sidelines (as teenagers) to waiting in hope for a phone call. It is only natural to feel that we are no longer a part of their world. And that can be a tough pill to swallow.

Trust Your Parenting

We spoke about this in Part 1 - Love Them Enough to Let Them Go. Trusting your child really boils down to trusting your own parenting. 

The first year is hard on us moms. We just want our kids to have the best college experience. We hope they make friends - and I mean, good friends - the kind that become a support system for life. Until they do, we worry. I am so thankful that my son has friends that take him higher and not pull him down. But you don't know if that will happen when they first set out.

And so I worry - for my daughter. My wish for her is that she also find her group of good friends. Until then, I'll worry.

One way to sorta-kinda know is to look at their current group of friends. You know your child's personality best. Are they quick at making friends or does it take them a long time to open up? Take steps to make them comfortable in their first year. If they are the quiet, not quick to mingle ones, you should take the time to find them a room-mate that best matches their personality. You could also see if you can be with them more often, so they don't feel lonely - if not physically, you could set up video chats 2-3 days a week initially.

It is very important to stay in communication with your kid in the  first year or at the very least, the first semester. You are their safety net. They should continue to feel that you are not too far; that they can reach you any time of the day or night-  just as they did at home. 


Teach Them the Tools of Life

In the second part of this series - The Voice In Your Head - the big takeaway for you was to equip them with the tools they would need to face the challenges of Life.

Much as we want to protect them from the harsher realities of Life, we cannot be there for them forever. Think of it as teaching them to ride a bicycle. We can show them the ropes, we can insist on helmets and knee guards; but if they decide to race their friends and end up with bruised elbows and shins, we cannot erase the pain.

When my daughter was 4 years old, she fell from the monkey-bars and ended up with a hairline fracture near her elbow. My husband was barely 2 feet from her and he couldn't stop it from happening. The best we could do - as parents - other than rushing to the emergency care, was to hug her close as she cried with pain, and eventually, encourage her to go back and conquer the monkey bars.

Teach Them the Tools of Life - or as someone I heard say recently - Make Yourself Irrelevant. 


Never Forget that You Are Their Safety Net

What does that mean?

When I reflect back on my younger days, of when I first started working, I was very 'bindaas' - that is slang in Hindi for 'carefree'. I was living my dream - I was working for the very company I had wanted to work for; I was living in Mumbai, by myself; I was taking the local train everyday (for some reason I just loved the crowded trains). I couldn't ask for more.

But when my Life was suddenly upended and I had to figure out alternatives, I went back to my parents house. It turned out to be a wonderful chapter in my Life. I realized that the reason I could be carefree, the reason I could take chances, the reason I was so confident, was that I knew that if all else fails and if I have nothing left and nowhere to go...I will always have my parents. 

It was this confidence in my parents' unconditional love for me that allowed me to fly. That was my safety net. 

And that is the safety net I want my children to have. The confidence that no matter how many times they fall, or how many times they fail, I will be there to pick them up and to hold them close. 

That is a powerful tool to have under your belt - this knowledge that you will always have your parents' support in whatever you do. And I want my children to have that. Just as you want your children to have. 

So be their safety net that allows them to soar and to take chances and to ultimately live the best life they can.


In Conclusion

As I bring this mini series to a close, I hope that you found solace in knowing that you are not the only mom of a college kid to go through these rollercoaster emotions. My wish is for you to realize that even when your kid is away from you, you have not become redundant. You still matter and your love still is the foundation of the support system that your child will (whether they know it or not) need.

Be Brave, Momma.

Watch them fly.

Watch them dance through Life.

Always be there for them.

Continue to show them your love.

And if you need a good cry, connect with me on Facebook and we will cry together.

Back to : "Voice In Their Head" >>

Back to : "Love Them Enough to Let Them Go" >>

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Hi, I am Richa and am super excited to see you here. I enjoy interior designing so much I went back to study it. Now armed with knowledge, passion and a vision to make 'happy homes', I hope this site will give you all the tools you need to make your kid's room happy too.   Read More...